Byrne was born in Scotland, and his family moved to Canada when he was two, then subsequently relocated to the Baltimore area when he was eight or nine.
Byrne briefly attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, where he met drummer Chris Frantz, with whom he formed a band called The Artistics in 1973. After that group broke up, Byrne, Frantz and Chris’ then-girlfriend and future wife Tina Weymouth, relocated to New York City, and the trio formed Talking Heads there.
The band soon became part of the New York punk scene, playing regularly at the famed club CBGB. The group’s classic lineup was solidified when Jerry Harrison, formerly of The Modern Lovers, joined as the keyboardist and second guitarist.
Talking Heads went on to become among the most popular and influential punk and New Wave bands. Byrne became known for his eccentric stage persona and, eventually, his inventive dance moves. He wrote or co-wrote all of the Talking Heads’ original songs, including “Psycho Killer,” “Life During Wartime,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “Burning Down the House,” “Road to Nowhere” and “Wild Wild Life.”
In 1986, Byrne co-wrote, directed and acted in the film True Stories, which featured a soundtrack by Talking Heads. In 1981, David released My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, a collaborative album with Brian Eno, and his debut solo album, Rei Momo, followed in 1989.
He won a 1988 Oscar for Best Film Score for his work on The Last Emperor.
Talking Heads split in 1991, and since then, Byrne has forged a wide-ranging solo career that’s included various film, stage, recording and multimedia projects. Talking Heads were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
In 2019, Byrne premiered his popular Broadway stage production David Byrne’s American Utopia, which was honored with a Special Tony Award in 2021.
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